GETTING THINGS DONE
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small
- Lao Tzu
Nowhere is cultural contrast more evident in terms of starting points between China and the West than in the area of implementation and the balance of action and inaction, proactivity and patient waiting which each culture perceives as necessary to achieving goals. We have touched on this in other chapters. However, because it is an area of challenge, it also represents an area of great opportunity in achieving a bridged definition when implementing business strategy for profitable outcomes and success. If you were to ask a focus group of Western businessmen what words come to mind when terms like ‘implementation’ or ‘getting things done’ are given to them, they will respond with strong words - good, robust verbs that are the very stuff of Western business proactivity: direct (on strategy), inform (on expectations), disseminate (instructions), allocate (roles and responsibilities), setup accountability and timelines, implement (project management structures), create (reporting structures) and report (on final outcomes) and justify (results).
Each of these brings into play the very active nature of the management and business skills profile that reassure us in the West that things are ‘being done’ and makes business progress a matter of comforting visibility. Apply the same stimulus of ‘getting things done’ in China, and the manner of approach ...